Interactive exhibits delighted audiences at the opening of "Experimenta Recharge", the 6th International Biennial of Media Art at RMIT Gallery.
The engaging summer exhibition marks the second occasion in which RMIT Gallery has partnered with Experimenta, Australia's leading media arts organisation dedicated to commissioning, exhibiting and touring some of the world's most compelling contemporary media art.
Presenting works from more than 18 acclaimed Australian and international artists, the exhibition offers a fresh survey of the current and eclectic field of media arts and invites the audience to play with the many interactive works on display.
Artists have looked back to the past for inspiration, with many works questioning the primacy of the digital form and interrogating notions of privacy, memory and the embodiment of knowledge.
Many of the international artists were present at the opening, including Japanese artist and musician Ei Wada, Brazilian media artist Anasia Franco and German sound installation artist Abel Korinsky, who is undertaking a residency with Experimenta and RMIT.
In her Welcome to Country, Wurundjeri Elder Aunty Di Kerr talked about the importance of art and cultural activities in society.
She also spoke of the work of four indigenous artists in the exhibition, including Born of the land a powerful multimedia piece by Maree Clarke that speaks about how the body holds knowledge through ritual.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation and Vice-President, Professor Calum Drummond, opened the exhibition.
Professor Drummond said that media art was inherently multi-disciplinary and Experimenta Recharge featured artworks that drew from disciplines taught at RMIT including biology, sculpture and installation, sound art, robotics, gaming, animation, film and video.
"The exhibition provides a perfect opportunity to draw on resources and capacities across RMIT University including our International Artist in Residence Program, SIAL - the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory, the Design Hub and the professional resources and exhibition capacity of RMIT Gallery as principal venue and sponsor partner," he said.
RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies said the role of the gallery's exhibition program was to open up speculative ways of thinking and understanding through the visceral experience of the gallery.
"Experimenta's international trans-disciplinary orientation is auspiciously aligned with the trans-disciplinary focus of RMIT Gallery within the University, reflecting its global orientation and overarching commitment to design and innovation across all teaching and research disciplines," she said.
Experimenta Artistic Director Jonathan Parsons said that in a territory where exhibitions are often very future focused, he felt a timely investigation was needed into the maturing media art sector.
"The artists in the Experimenta 6th International Biennial of Media Art are alert to both the intimate and the broader cultural contexts through which they move and live," he said.
"By listening, watching, thinking and making, they recharge knowledge and meaning systems, reinvigorating these systems or radically transforming them.".
The opening concluded with an impromptu performance at RMIT A'Beckett Urban Square, where Melbourne dance artists Brooke Stamp, Deanne Butterworth, Shian Law, Ellen Davies, Lilian Steiner and Tim Walsh joined Abel Korinsky to transform the blue sports court into an outdoor stage.
The performance, which was formed from common interests in the Big Bang, soundart and dance, played to a large audience but failed to stop the vigorous activities in the next court, concluding with a lone basketball rolling to a stop next to a prone dancer as the light faded across the city and the evocative soundscape ebbed into silence.
Experimenta Recharge: the 6th International Biennial of Media Art at RMIT Gallery runs throughout summer until 21 February, 2015.
The final night's viewing will be at the third annual White Night Melbourne, when RMIT Gallery will be open from 7pm to 7am.